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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index extend gains as Trump woes weigh on dollar

MUMBAI (NewsRise) - Asian stocks advanced Tuesday, buoyed by an extended retreat in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields since Donald Trump's inauguration, even as his protectionist trade policies worried investors.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.6% or over six points to 1,083.76 Tuesday. Singapore's Banyan Tree Holdings was the biggest gainer on the gauge, rising over 9% after it said it will tie up with China Vanke to expand assets in China. China Mobile, PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) contributed most to gains on the index.

Regional markets have come under pressure since Trump's unexpected election win in November amid expectations his fiscal policies will boost inflation and growth and nudge interest rates higher. However, a recent retreat in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields as Trump refrains from elaborating on his economic plans, has eased the threat of a sudden flight of capital from the region.

The dollar index, measured against a basket of major currencies, shed about 1% since Trump assumed office, while yield of the 10-year U.S. bond slipped almost seven basis points Monday.

Still, ongoing worries that Trump's protectionist trade policies could hurt businesses remained a drag on investor mood. During his inaugural address on Friday, Trump stressed on putting "America First." Since then, the President has Trump signed an executive order pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP was an effort to boost Asia-Pacific trade, representing almost 40% of global economic output, by knocking down barriers and creating agreed-upon rules after the Doha round of global trade talks stalled.

The Nikkei Asia300 China Index rose 0.3% to 1,033.00 points, while Hong Kong's gauge rose 0.5% to 1,027.23. China's gauge tracks 58 companies, while Hong Kong's index contains 21. China makes up about 27% on the 324-stock gauge's weight.

PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) added 1.6% each, tracking a rise in Brent crude prices.

Mainland Chinese markets will be closed for Lunar New Year holidays from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, while Hong Kong markets will be shut on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31.

Malaysia's gauge added 0.6% or six points to end at 978.82, while neighboring city-state Singapore's index rose 1.2% to 1,047.58 points.

The Nikkei Asia300 South Korea Index, which tracks 42 companies, rose 0.5% to 1,168.26, while Taiwan's gauge added 0.6% to end at 1,190.71.

Technology giant Samsung Electronics eked out a 0.3% advance after it reported fourth-quarter earnings in line with its recent outlook. The company also said it expects profit to grow further in 2017.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 1.3%, while Indonesia's index added 1.1%. Philippines' gauge slipped 0.2% to close at 1,011.34 points. Vietnam's index, which tracks five companies, ended 0.1% higher at 1,251.66.

India's index advanced 0.9%, closing at 1,034.92 points. Heavyweight mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation rose 1.6%. Truckmaker Tata Motors and sports utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra rose at least 2% each, while two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto added 3.4%.

Local markets await New Delhi's annual budget for the next fiscal year, due to be presented on Feb. 1, amid hopes the government will unveil incentives to support the economy after a massive demonetization drive in November slowed economic activity.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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